I am me.
Firstly, I have to say that I'm deeply freaked out that it's the end of the year. It's a complete cliché, but it's gone ridiculously fast. At the end of 2007, 2008 was suddenly gearing up towards the end of the decade; 2007 had been the year; so much had happened, so much had changed, that it seemed impossible that it could be 2008. I was looking forward to Torchwood, was settling into the Sixth Form, and now, BANG! Here I am on December 31st 2008, thinking about the year that's just gone past, and rather than being philosophical and deep about all my experiences, all I can do is scratch my head and think, wow. That was a whole YEAR?
It's been an immensely packed year. I've been more excited than I've ever been before, I've forged friendships that'll remain for years; I can already tell. I've learnt more in school than I ever thought I could before the Sixth Form; things that have helped me find my own way through my education rather than relying on teachers every step of the way. And not only that; what I'm learning and assimilating within my subjects (particularly Politics) is helping me form and shape my own views, my own viewpoint and opinions of issues. I care, more than I ever have.
I've done things that would seem trivial to others, but to me were incredibly important, and have never given me such a rush. Seeing John Barrowman in April with Tara; stupid as it may sound, I've never felt such an adrenaline rush; just being part of that experience, being lost in the crowd, was unbelievably fun.
Pride. Oh, Pride. After last year; the first time I went (when I heard it was a London march, Freema Agyeman and John Barrowman would be there, and Doctor Who would be shown on a big screen), I had such an amazing day, that I never thought anything could top it. How wrong I was! July 4th is going to stick in my mind for years to come; marching through the streets of London, through cheering crowds, blowing a whistle and walking alongside Ian McKellen, feeling part of a movement that truly means something, shouting loud for the whole world to hear, is an experience I'll never, ever forget. It's my heaven; I'd happily do it every day. I'm quite a singular person; I like my own company, and I've never felt compelled to surround myself with people when an evening in on my own would be enough. But, despite that, I seem to do well in crowds; being part of such as large movement of people, all of whom are striving for what you're striving for; everyone celebrating what you're celebrating, is the biggest rush I've ever received.
And of course, China. China had its ups and downs, but I couldn't be more glad that I took the opportunity to go. I'll never experience anything like it again; to be thrown into such a new environment was absolutely bloody terrifying, but it's something everyone should try. Simply by walking down a Chinese street I was incredibly awed that I was so far away from home, and felt so lucky that I had the chance to see the country. The sheer size of it messed with my head; one evening, a few of us congregated in the flat of a friend's Chinese partner, on the twenty-ninth floor looking out over the entire city. I was left breathless by the view, and even more so by the fact that this was one city, in one province, in one country. My perspective was shaken up, and by being in such a new place and doing so many new things (and, making so many new friends), I was able to understand and clarify my own view on my British identity, as well as experiencing a new kind of culture.
We were placed in hotel rooms on the fifth floor, with no lift. Everything was appallingly organised. The food was suspect. I had no end of problems with the language. Often, enough was enough. And you know what? I would do it all again in an instant, without hesitation. It'll be some time before I travel to somewhere truly beyond my life in England, and I'm so glad I managed it now.
There's been highs and lows this year. Plans have been shaken up; my exam results weren't what I'd hoped for, and my work ethic is still in need of a revamp. Still, I have to make sure I don't forget how lucky I am to exist within such a brilliant educational system, and to have the opportunities that so many people don't have. I volunteered for this, after all, and I don't regret it in the least.
So, 2009. Big, BIG year. Massive year. From the small (off to see John Barrowman again!) to the big (interrailing!), to the absolutely fucking huge (leaving home!), it's going to be tough, and it's going to be nerve-wracking.
But it's going to be the most exciting year. I'm taking steps towards my own future, I'm branching off from what I'm used to. It's terrifying, yes, but I'm far from dreading it. I feel like I've forged a more concrete identity for myself, my views and my likes and dislikes and opinions, over this last year; and it's that identity and perspective which will help me through all the tricky transitions in 2009, and make my experiences memorable, singular to me.
My name is Ros. I'm seventeen years old, I snack on cucumber, I can be ruthlessly sceptical and cynical, when I get nervous I chew on my nails and swear like a trooper, and I refuse to let arguments be.
2009, I'm ready for you.
Bring it on.